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Archive for October, 2011

Ever have a moment? Okay..I know. I’ve had a few in the last little while but here’s another one I want to share. I’m interested to see if this is just my thing or if it’s more common that I think.

I’ve written in the past about how music moves the soul. At least it moves mine. In fact I wrote about my little crazy fun of having a theme song. Something I’ve been doing since I was a kid!

Now, that song changes often depending on mood and what’s happening in my life of course. It’s kind of like a musical affirmation.

For a while my ‘theme’ song was Rain by Creed It connected with what I was feeling quite a bit and at the same time, if I’m being really honest, I didn’t pay a great deal of attention to all of the lyrics.

I’ve really felt I’ve made some personal breakthroughs lately and the sun has begun to shine once again. Well, metaphorically anyway. (If you know fall/winter in the Pacific North West you’ll know the sun is rare! lol)

I was working away and listening to music on my computer when the song came on. It’s been a little while since I heard it. Wow, maybe it was the headphones or that I was just paying attention but it still kind of fits.

Check out the lyrics.

Can you help me out, can you lend me a hand?
It’s safe to say that I’m stuck again
Trapped between this life and the light
I just can’t figure out, how to make it right…

A thousand times before
I’ve wondered if there’s something more… something more…

I feel it’s gonna rain like this for days
So let it rain down and wash everything away
I hope that tomorrow the sun will shine
With every tomorrow comes another life…

I feel it’s gonna rain, for days and days
(I feel it’s gonna rain)
I tried to figure out, I can’t understand…
What it means… to be whole again…
Trapped between the truth and the consequence
Nothing’s real, nothing’s making sense…

A thousand times before
I’ve wondered if there’s something more… something more…

I feel it’s gonna rain like this for days
So let it rain down and wash everything away
I hope that tomorrow the sun will shine
I feel it’s going to rain like this… rain like this… rain like this…

Fall down, wash away my yesterdays
Fall down, so let the rain fall down on me…

I feel it’s gonna rain like this for days
Let it rain down and wash everything away
I hope that tomorrow the sun will shine
I feel it’s going to rain like this… rain like this…

So let the rain fall…
I feel it’s gonna rain like this… rain like this…
So let the rain fall down…
I feel it’s gonna rain like this…

I feel it’s gonna rain.

No wonder I connected so much. I was SOstuck in between what I knew I needed to do and fear. This life and the light of the life I wanted…my own light really.  I had a hard time finding a way to get past and ‘make it right’.

Some ‘stuff’ happened that moved me forward and through those things that were holding me back.

Just yesterday I was saying to someone I feel like a lot of the crap I’ve been holding onto has been washed away.

So ya, believe it. The sun does shine and tomorrow does bring another life. Perhaps we need to welcome the rain because sometimes we need the rain to wash away the grime, the sadness the confusion and let the light in. Those thousands of times I wondered if there was more? I KNEW there was but was holding myself back.

You know there is too right? Otherwise you wouldn’t be here on this blog looking for some grace yourself.

Let the rain wash away yesterday and let the sun shine today.

So, although I still love this song, I think I need a new theme song; a new musical affirmation.

What is YOUR theme song today?  Oh I’m going to need some suggestions for a new one myself!

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Do you conform?

I suppose at some point or another and on some level we all conform.  I mean if you really want to split hairs you can point out that total non conformity is what psychopaths achieve and we kinda lock those folks up right?

Okay..not quite that deep.  I’m talking about the everyday.  What will you give up to fit in?

If you read my last post you know I’m not really good at changing who I am in order to please other people.  Not that I haven’t tried.  Certainly, don’t get me wrong; I do think good manners and being respectful is a form of conformity and I’m all in favour of those.  Those are the types of things that help us as a society get along and share our other gifts.  The problem with conformity is when it stifles your spirit. The problems as I see it are two-fold.

1.  People who insist that you conform to what they see as normal generally want you to do so, not because of you; but because your freedom makes them uncomfortable. They want the same old, same old so they can go about their daily life of routine and not think too much.  They basically would really like to ignore your spirit and spark.  It’s UNCOMFORTABLE.  By nature people tend to try to avoid that which makes them feel discomfort.  Often that is a really good plan.  I mean sitting in cold water is also uncomfortable so hey, let’s avoid that right? 

Imagine though you were standing on a rocky shore with brambles and bugs.  What if you heard that swimming in the cold water brought you across to a shore that was amazing though?  Palm trees, coconuts, white sand and sun!  Some would swim it in order to try to find the pleasure.  Others would stay on the boring shore even so.  They just can’t make the leap.  And they don’t enjoy knowing some are already over on the other side so they point to the people who are shivering in the water to prove how silly it is.  Better to stay with what you know than risk.

If you have been reading my blog you know this isn’t me.  I am learning to swim faster and stronger although there are times I’ve felt I’ve been treading water and that I’m not quite sure which way the shore is at times.  Still, I swim.  Do you?

2. Being yourself can mean pink hair and studded boots or it can simply mean choosing to work somewhere that feeds your passion.  But some are trying to hard to be different and that leads to a funny thing.  What you end up doing is trying too hard and you end up just as lost.  You essentially (ready for this?) are trying to conform with those people who are not conforming.  Makes no sense at all to do that does it? 

Be yourself.  Find your values, your passion and your purpose.  Live from there. That IS different; there is no one more original you can be than you.

Originality is within all of us.  Where is emerges can be varied and we need to embrace who we are.  Embrace who you are!  Love your quirks because you have to know that this is also what makes others love you too.  Your spirit needs to be free and open.  Only you can make that happen.  Own your own spirit, be joyful for the gifts you have.

So, do you conform or you own your spirit?

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Isn’t it fascinating how the universe can conspire to help you learn the lesson that life had been trying to teach you for a very long time?  I suppose it helps that I am far more ready to hear the lesson today than I ever have been before.

I’ll admit it.  I’ve been struggling with a few issues of my own the last while. Are you surprised?  Ha! The coach has a coach?  Darn right I do.  Fact is we often can’t see our own forests for the trees and any good Coach knows that. I bet almost every good coach has their own Coach and loves every second of it!

The thing is I’ve had to come to grips with and let go of a few things and that has been terribly difficult for me.  It’s a case of what I want to be and what really is.  A situation not easy to remedy especially for someone who isn’t very good at being vulnerable.  I’m learning that there is a strength that can be found in allowing vulnerability; one that you can’t access any other way and it’s powerful.

Recently, I’ve had a long conversation with my own coach about feeling judged for following my path because it is different.  I hate that feeling and I struggle with it when it comes to some of the people I love most.  I’ve felt shamed and made to feel as if I’m doing something not quite right.  Most recently I’ve had a few occasions to see that others struggle with their journey when it takes them away from what is considered the ‘way to do things’. 

Just today I read a post by my friend Deeone that inspired me to write this very post.  Deeone gently but firmly took that lesson and pushed though some barriers for me with his own story and truth. 

His struggles and mine are not so far apart.  Can I be really open here? I had some tears.  Relief, understanding and hope all mixed together in a very overwhelming  way.  You have to go read his post.  Not only is it incredibly beautiful with its analogy to an emerging butterfly but also a piece of gorgeous writing.   Go on, I’ll wait here.  I’ve already read it over 3-4 times myself.  At this point the title alone brings a rush of emotion!

As I said, coming to grips with the need to follow the path I’m on and those close to me having difficulty understanding and accepting who I am, has and is, a struggle.  What I’ve learned from others and from a lot of deep and painful introspective reflection is this:  some people are comfortable and do not like to have their comfort level challenged, even when they are not happy with where they are.  They certainly do not like having to face any issues they have ignored because someone else is showing signs of being self-aware, honest and willing to grow. 

Many people are content with simply repeating what has gone before no matter if they are happy or not.  I think they feel it’s easier to do so.  And to keep myself honest I have to admit on occasion I envy those who don’t look beyond their front door.  I wonder if sometimes following the norm wouldn’t be simpler.  Maybe,  but it’s not for me. 

I have always been a little different that way I think.  Strong minded, questioning and able to do what I knew I had to do (okay some might say stubborn but hey, this is my damn blog!).  That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when that isn’t accepted by those you most want acceptance from. 

What do you do?   Well, you can only change you and your own responses.  As much as I might want to make someone see that there is so much more; I cannot.  I might want to open eyes that refuse to see, but again..that isn’t my place.  Perhaps one day, but not today.  I can only love them for who they are today and hope that someday they can see who I really am and be happy for that. 

That being said I certainly don’t have to let the “Yuck Spirits” (thanks Deeone for that term!) keep me from loving who I am; from finding my purpose and pursuing it with all the passion and joy I can find.  I am learning to hold both things in my heart and life and it is bringing a sense of peace I’ve not really known before.

This is a lesson that has been a long time coming, a difficult time accepting and I’m sure I will falter from time to time.  What a blessing and joy for my lonely heart though to know others have experienced the same, grown and thrived.  How grateful I am to have found the people in my life who ground me, accept and love my spirit for what it is.   I credit a number of people for supporting this lesson.  As my friend Deeone says it’s time for me to be “Releasing Me Today“.

And every single day I am grateful that they are there.

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This Friday for my Fabulous Finds I want to share with you some people I’ve ‘found’ online who are truly Fabulous, Beautiful People.  They are authentically themselves and really shine. Check them out, follow their tweets, like them on facebook and read their blogs!  You won’t be disappointed I am sure of it.

1. Samantha Bangayan Samantha is a Canadian-born freelance writer living in Peru.  I love that Samantha is following her heart and her dreams.  Whether she is writing about her adventures around life in Peru or in her blog about career and personal development; her writing is captivating.  A sweet, supportive and truly lovely person you will want to add her to your must read list.

Blog: http://www.whatlittlethings.com/

Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/whatlittlethings

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/samanthaluy

LinkedIn: http://ca.linkedin.com/in/samanthabangayan

2. Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A.  Roy is a multi-talented gentleman who is not averse to sharing his knowledge and perspectives.  What I love about Roy is despite his deep mastery of various topics, he is skilled at creating posts that anyone, at any level of understanding can read. I feel like I’ve learned something new or found a new way to look at things every time I go to his site.  Another aspect of Roy that I enjoy is his obvious deep love for his family. 

Blog:   http://cerebrations.biz/ OR http://www.adjuvancy.com/wordpress

Twitter  http://twitter.com/#!/RAAckerman OR http://twitter.com/Adjuvancy

Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Adjuvancy-LLC/132566953427606

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/raackerman

Business Website:  http://www.adjuvancy.com/,   http:/www.adjuvancy.net

3. Deeone Higgs I am completely in love with Deeone’s posts.  Every time I visit his site Releasing Me Today I am inspired, motivated and uplifted.  Deeone offers insights into his life and journey and openly shares his lessons with his readers.  His writing is honest and heartfelt.  To quote Deeone himself  “The whole point of Releasing Me Today is coming to grips and accepting what life is all about and everything that comes along with living this life; the good, the bad, and even those things we often wish we could just forget.” 

Blog: http://releasingmetoday.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/kingskiddd1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Releasing-Me-Today/116219778457096

4. Fabienne Fredrickson  Fabienne is a marketing coach.  Her blog, fan page and e-zine are amazing.  She really inspires me to reach for higher places.  Although I have not worked directly with her (yet!) I did send for her free cd and would highly recommend it. (No affiliation here at all)  Honestly this lady is so generous with her spirit and her information that I look to how she lives her life so authentically as a role model for those days that are tough to get through.  Her emails are ones I really look forward to finding in my inbox.

Blog/Website: http://www.clientattraction.com/

Facebook: Fabienne

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/fabienne

5. Suzanne Evans Suzanne is someone I’d just love to have lunch with!  She pulls no punches and tells it like is.  Suzanne has a passion for teaching Helpingpreneurs to help more people, make more money, and enjoy more freedom. Check her out…supportive, caring and truthful like no other marketing coach I’ve met!  She is also pretty generous with information and content.  Definitely LOVE getting her emails in my box and reading her posts. There is a lot of info and inspiration but they are also a lot of fun to read.

Blog/Website: http://suzanneevans.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1114871090

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/suzanneevans

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Mindset, that whole set of assumptions, beliefs and ways of thinking that create the kind of life you are living.

I’ve said it before and I have no problem saying a thousand more times. Your thoughts create your actions, your actions create your life.  YOU create the kind of life you are living.

So you can see how important it is to be mindful of what kinds of things you are focusing your thinking on.  Are your thoughts positive or negative as a rule? 

The attitude with which you approach the things that happen and surround you in this life make all the difference.  These habitual ways of choosing your reactions end up creating the way you see and understand life. 

I try very hard to create an attitude of gratitude in my life (and not just because that rhymes and sounds fabulous although that’s a great bonus for me!).  It serves me to do so and I can share a perfect example of choosing to focus my thoughts this way.

 My boyfriend and I had a busy week and ended up needing to go to the grocery store on Saturday. We usually try hard to avoid this because Saturday shopping is so busy and neither of us enjoy crowds.  I started feeling frustrated and to be honest was getting grumpy.  I could feel myself getting annoyed and so I made the choice to back off of that emotion and replace it with one of thankfulness.  I reminded myself that I was blessed to be in a country where food is plentiful; to be grateful that I had enough money to buy what I needed and wanted now (yes there was a time when that wasn’t always the case!).

Did that get rid of all the annoyance?  Yes.  It really did.  My mindset is a choice; so is yours.  Will I hit the store again on a Saturday? Oh heck no..not if I can avoid it! But I can appreciate it is there if I need to. 

Do you have a story like this? A time when you were deliberately able to choose to replace your thinking and attitude with something that serves you better?  Maybe a time you replaced being afraid of the unknown with an attitude of curiosity?  Or perhaps changing the feeling of being a victim of circumstance to one of opportunity?   I’d love to hear about  it!

Mind your mindset…if you don’t who will?

 

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FEAR

Seems like a pretty popular topic these days.  In my opinion one of the biggest causes of stress there is.  One that a whole lot of the time, is really just a bunch of hooey that we make up in our own heads.  We end up burdening ourselves a great deal of extra, un-needed stress.

Surprised? 

You shouldn’t be.  Seriously think about it. How many times have you felt stuck in place only to realize you’re afraid of (fill in the blank here).  I’ll give you that some fears are not in this category…like being afraid to jump out of a moving car or wandering down a dark alley.  But these are not the kind of fears I’m talking about here.  I’m talking about the ones that you hear in your head that make you think “I can’t”.  Be it fear of failing, fear of success, fear of looking foolish or like a looser.  Fear of being perceived as silly or not smart enough.  Fear of the unknown.   It happens right? 

Okay..now hold on a second because if you have made it this far in life, I’m willing to bet that you have faced at least some of these fears.  So, what happened?  Not so bad when you finally take that courageous step into your light and face up to it. You made those presentations in school; you spoke to that girl at the dance; you went to the interview and go the job; you wrote that first blog…  YOU DID IT. 

And you not only survived you thrived.  Think about that!

Can’t you see?  Fear is tricky and sneaky, but you can and have, made it through only to look back and realize that a lot of the fear was simply BS you made up in your head. 

You have lost before and emerged wiser and stronger. 

You have been foolish before and learned that it isn’t the worst thing and maybe you even learned to laugh at yourself. 

You have risked and been hurt and now you understand pain and compassion. 

Now that certainly doesn’t discount what you were feeling. Not by any means. Fear is a real emotion and can cause mental and physical distress absolutely.  But it can be dealt with.  The first step is looking honestly at what it is.  Accept that fear, name it and look it in the eye. 

Stand up tall my friends. Like you, I have had to (and still do) face those fears or remain stuck where I was.  Heck, I still get nervous when I hit publish on my blog posts; terrified to just put my book out there; almost always anxious just before a presentation and you know what?  I’m proud to say I still get butterflies, but I’ve learned to love them.  They tell me I’m going further than I ever thought I could and that on the other end of this journey, I’ll have stomped all over that little monster Fear once again to show the world I sure as hell CAN. 

 And so can you.  I believe in you.  Go start the stomping.

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Okay, you’re stressed right? Not a huge shocker for you I’m sure. In my previous post Stress Wisdom, I shared with you some of my favorite quotes about the little monster we all fondly call stress.

The best advice I have ever been blessed with is that we can choose how we respond to events in our lives. Stuff is going to happen. Good and bad. Stress is going to happen.

Stress is a body’s response to what our mind percieves as some sort of dangerous condition. The good news is we don’t have to be a slave to our first reactions. We are not stuck there if we don’t want to be.  

Self Awareness is the key.

Try this. Starting to feel that old familiar tension, that ball of stress? First acknowledge it. It’s there. Just like every other emotion or reaction we have we need to accept it as it is. Pretending it’s not is not helpful nor is it healthy.

Stop, breathe for a moment.

Now look at the problem and define what it really is. Often this step alone takes away much of the power the problem appears to have. Looking at it directly we often find it isn’t as bad as it first appeared.

Now, in an ideal world; what’s the solution going to look like? For example, if my car has stopped working the real problem I need to deal with today is I need to get to work. In an ideal world I’d simply run out buy a new car that is reliable! These are fun to think about but they also give you an idea of where you want your smaller steps to take you.

Okay now we know the big goal is a new car. But, what do we need today? A ride to work right?

 Ask yourself what can you do to make what you need happen. This is the key.  To focus on what you can do.

Example, I can cab it, call a co-worker for a ride, borrow my boyfriend’s car after I drop him off and lots more ideas. Now pick the one that works the best to solve what you need today. If that doesn’t pan out go to the next on the list.

Once that is sorted out you can create a plan to work towards that more reliable car.

Choosing to be calm and solve your problem rather than allowing the stress to run the show will help you a great deal.

Working towards a solution and creating a plan can in and of itself help reduce stress.

Quick review:
1. Define exactly what the real problem is you need to solve today.

2. What can you do today? 

3. Know what your ideal solution is so you know the direction you want to move toward.

Stress is a reaction we can manage with practice and taking time to check in with our body and mind. Next post I’ll be talking more about stress reactions! Stay tuned!

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